Mercury threat

Published: Thursday 31 May 2001

the former employees of the Hindustan Lever Limited's ( hll ) thermometer factory in Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, are protesting against the company's "unrepentant and insensitive attitude" regarding hazardous working conditions and dangerous mercury waste management practises. The worker's association alleges that instead of conducting health checkups for its workers, the company has sent a letter to Mahendra Babu, president of the association, threatening to sue him for defamation. In March 2001, the company was caught dumping toxic mercury waste at various locations in Kodaikanal (Read: Kodaikanal mercury dumping, Down To Earth , Vol 9, No 22, April 15). Community activists allege that the company has undertaken hasty cover-up operations. In April 2001, Greenpeace, an international pressure group, filmed the company's workers digging up mercury-contaminated waste buried within the factory site. "It is interesting to note that the Union ministry of environment and forests has been totally silent about the whole issue," said Navroz Mody, a campaigner with Greenpeace.

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